Hey guys! I've decided to post a chapter to celebrate the New Year, so here it is. I'm doing well and well on the way to a sound recovery after my second spinal surgery, thank-you to al of my well-wishers. Now I've introduced a new character in this chapter and will be adding them to the poll roster referring to the other half of Harry's pairing, of which you may access in my profile as per usual. Yes! I'm breaking the 'A' rule because I just love this character so much and have a lot of plans for her. She practically seeps potential.
I'm so happy with the response I'm receiving to this story and thank you all for your consideration, I've almost hit 1000 follows! :)
The votes as they stand are:
Ares: 6 (lol)
Now, I'd like to answering a few of your questions and comments;
wildtrance- I hear your incessant pleas for Apollo's general fabulous gayness and share your sentiments. As for Athena's maiden vow, things in my story are fluid, changing that particular fact would not be entirely outlandish.
nikkali44- Yes, Ares would probably get mad. Then Harry would probably proceed to kick his ass since the pairing would not actually occur until Harry was older.
Passing-Glance- While that is an awesome idea, it really doesn't fit Harry's personality. He's always been a very loyal, understated character.
Joe-Lawyer- Thank-you, I enjoyed that idea as well. As for his smoke power, I'm going to give a spoiler and mention that that power is going to morph soon into something much different and way more useful.
At Hestia's departure the godly trio decided to turn in for the night- even celestial beings have a limit for excitement. Harry turned away from the dying embers of their previous campfire and dusted off his dirty pair of jeans before shuffling off to his tent that sat further away from the camp of women. Just because he was family to the huntresses doesn't mean he wasn't on the same page as other males- he just had a bit more leeway. Not long afterwards Artemis and Apollo's bickering dwindled, their yawns becoming more frequent, signalling their apparent need for sleep. Soon the camp was eerily silent; it's occupants fast asleep, the only prominent sounds were the occasional rustle of leaves and slight snores that the huntresses would never admit to causing.
All but Harry rested relatively peacefully, only the occasional nightmare stirring the campers. Harry lied back in his sleeping bag, his arms behind his head as his eyes swept over the dark expanse of the top of his tent. Lazily he swept his arm in a small ark, creating bright lights to illuminate the tent's ceiling that resembled the stars. He hadn't told the twin gods of this particular talent of his, he'd simply never found it relevant. After all, what use was the ability to create tiny balls of light? He shook his head in frustration before pushing his bitter thoughts to the side and focusing his efforts on his creation. Now wasn't the time to brood.
He allowed himself a slight smile as he created his own galaxy, recreating constellations while inventing his own. The godling took extra care to include Orion's belt and the little dipper, wondering what purpose each constellation served the gods at some point in time. He gazed up in wonder at his creation, dreaming of the day he could wander the earth on his own, free to do as he pleased without having to worry about being discovered by the thunder god and his unwilling armada. Harry thirsted for the day he could go wherever he pleased, meet whomever he chose and be whatever he wished without the ball and chain that was his enemy's jealousy. That night he fell asleep to the rustle of the winds and the glitter of his the creation of his that represented his hopes.
When he woke the camp was eerily quiet, the usual happy sounds of the hunters absent in the morning sunlight. The young god untangled himself from the sheets of his sleeping bag and poked his head out of the folds of his tent. He was met with an empty camp site. His eyes widened momentarily in shock before he hurried back in his tent and tripped over to his camping bag. The godling pulled on a new pair of jeans and an old pair of combat boots before hurrying outside of his tent, in search of the hunters.
Harry always appreciated morning in the forest- there was something magical about the way the light filtered through the trees, bouncing off the tiny water droplets that weighed down boughs of the great firs. He loved to climb the highest tree around and just watch the forest as it woke up to the sun's ovation. He often carried around his iPod in his pocket for moments like those; moments that deserved their own soundtrack.
To be honest, he still felt a little uncomfortable when out in the open, years of his room being a cupboard tended to affect him so. He loved small, dark places; they were his safe-house, his solace. There he was completely at ease: as if the darkness clung to him in an embrace, caressing his face in comfort.
Out here he was exposed, a liability. To the hunters this was all they knew— all they needed. Harry knew he was meant for so much more, no matter how much he enjoyed the company of Artemis and Apollo. He knew somewhere deep that he'd move on some day, although he'd never forget the forest on mornings such as these.
Unfortunately, Harry wasn't in the mood for tree-climbing, no, his attention lay fixed on the empty campsites that once held the hunters he had grown up with. The camp site was virtually empty, except for the two lone tents that he knew Artemis and Apollo to inhabit. He stood by the ashes of the fire they'd had the night before with his arms crossed over his chest for a moment in annoyance at the lack of knowledge he held on the events of the camp before turning sharply on his heel and marching over to the entrance of the silver tent that lay nestled beneath the great redwood tree off to the side of the clearing. He scoffed inwardly to himself as he walked, 'I honestly don't know why I'm surprised. Artemis always preferred to take things into her own hands.'
The hunters' disappearance was likely her doing. For what purpose, he was unsure.
Harry swept aside the tent curtain over the entrance and peered inside, not seeing hide nor hair of his irritating relatives. The tent was in disarray— clothes strewn across the ground, sleeping bag askew and hunting pack upended. For Artemis such behaviour was out of character, which puzzled Harry immensely. Whatever had caused for Artemis to evacuate her huntresses obviously had her in a rut.
Of course, Harry was well aware of the mission Hestia had tasked them with; but Artemis was not so easily shaken. It was yet another quest to complete in her mind, so why the disorganization?
Harry quickly pulled his head from the drop-curtain at the sound of a few branches snapping. His head swivelled to the direction of the noise, hand reaching to his boot, until he realized he had left his dagger back in his tent. Quickly, he glanced around his surroundings before pulling a long nail from the ground that helped anchor the tent to the moist dirt. He held the nail between his fingers, like a sixth knuckle and hid behind a tree, not sure who would be roaming the forest at this time.
The god visibly relaxed as Apollo and Artemis swam into view, another branch snapping as Apollo clumsily tripped over roots; focused on his apparent argument with Artemis.
"Don't be ridiculous! She isn't to be trusted." She spoke sternly, quirking an eyebrow in irritation at her brother.
"She's changed since then. Besides, she never meant any harm; she's just overly curious." He defended the mystery being. It was Harry's turn to quirk an eyebrow, abandoning his offensive stance. He strode over to the pair as they stopped to glare at each other in agitation.
"Simply because she didn't mean any harm does not excuse her from what she caused. I won't risk Harry's freedom with her around."
"That's just not fair! She was young, and people were stupid."
The look Artemis wore was less than impressed. Harry shifted awkwardly where he stood, not sure whether to interject and risk her wrath. "To inadvertently start the Black Plague would be classified as more than simply 'unfair'."
"She just likes to experiment! Sometimes she just goes a little overboard…"
"We shall not consult her. That is final."
Apollo winced a bit before smiling at her sheepishly, "Well, uh, then no problem."
Her nostrils flared as she recognized Apollo's verbal sidestep for what it was, "What on earth did you do?"
The group turned their heads back to the camp as a green flames suddenly spouted from the barren fire pit. Artemis turned back to Apollo to glare ferociously at him, but he was already running towards the fires side. Harry's eyebrows reached his hairline in surprise, before following Apollo's example at a much more reasonable pace.
Quickly, the flames dissipated, leaving a dark haired girl clothed in a ripped greek ensemble in its wake. Her grin was enough to make all but Apollo cringe in weariness. "Polly!" She cried, launching herself at Apollo with a cackle before releasing him and bouncing over to Artemis, who had her arms crossed over chest in anger. "Tis been a while Artie. Still have that enormous brick crammed up your ass?" She giggled at her own joke.
Artemis' brows furrowed in contempt. "How did you escape the Underworld Hecate?" She grit out, as if the words physically pained her to utter.
The answering grin was bright enough to blind a diamond, "It takes two powerful gods to partially subdue a goddess as old as I, as you well know. Especially in the Underworld. Zeus was one, care to guess the other?"
Harry inwardly snorted, anyone who can successfully piss off Artemis and live to see the next second was admirable in his book. He swept his eyes across her form, wondering how something so small could cause Artemis' hackles to rise so quickly.
As he appraised the newcomer, the goddess caught his eye with a smirk before striking a pose as if she were a swimsuit model and pouting her lips in an attempt at a duck face. "Yes, I'm fabulous. Thank-you for noticing."
Apollo flashed behind harry and draped an arm around his shoulder affectionately, catching his eye. "This is my old friend Hecate, we caused a lot of mischief together over the years." He grinned, internally reminiscing of 'the good old days'.
Artemis just sighed and flopped down on a nearby log in resignation, eyeing the troublesome goddess like a great responsibility had just been dumped on her lap. Hecate took no notice, too busy tearing apart Apollo's hunting bag he'd left outside his tent, clearly searching for something. It was a few moments before she finally tossed the bag aside carelessly and brandished a dagger, cackling in triumph. She caught Apollo's gaze and grinned. "You kept it! You've earned yourself more than a few brownie points, old pal." Harry turned to his uncle with a raised eyebrow at her admission in question.
"I won that dagger off a blood-thristy Nymph who didn't really appreciate my advances, I gave that dagger to Hecate a few millenia ago. I promised her I'd hold onto it if anything ever happened to her."
Harry furrowed his eyebrows in confusion, "You had anticipated something would happen?"
At this Hecate laughed from her seat beside Artemis as she further attempted to antagonize the goddess by braiding her hair. Artemis' fists were clenched in her attempt to keep a lid on her temper, not wanting to tick off her brother and feed the fire.
Hecate turned her attention to Harry minutely to reply, "It never hurts to be cautious, especially when one tends to cause trouble."
"And yet we're bringing her along on a quest to oust a god and earn anothers allegiance. What could possible go wrong?" Artemis interjected, frantically carding her hands through her hair in an attempt to loosen the overly tight braids. It was no use, Hecate's incriminating grin betrayed how she must have charmed the younger goddess' hair.
Hecate stuck out her tongue in response, "Unfortunately for you and fortunately for me, I'm here on Hades' orders. It appears he wants his tyke to have a little more backup."
Harry just smiled, it appeared life was about to become far more interesting.
For anyone who is interested, I was wondering if anyone would be interested in making any fan art related to this story? I would be willing to provide links to your work in my profile and maybe even employ the artwork as a cover if you liked. I just figured since it appears to be taking off, maybe some aspiring artists could use this opportunity to gain more of an audience. As a fellow artist I appreciate how integral things like this can be.
Let me know if you're interested.